Graphic t-shirt dress

Now that Summer has officially left town (this morning’s snow showers should confirm it), I guess I should show you how I made this cute summery dress.  You might make one with long sleeves for your little sweetie and then pair it with some cute leggings, or maybe you can plan ahead for the next warm season.

First, grab a graphic tee you want to convert.

I wanted to make this an envelope shoulder style dress, since Bambina still hates having tight tops pulled over her head.  See the pic below for how I cut the main bodice piece (front and back) and skirt section.

You’ll need some facing along the neckline.  Use the top of the bodice as a guide to cut two pieces that are each about an inch tall.   Fold them in half, and cut one of them more deeply at the center.

Harvest the sleeves from the shirt.  Fold over the shoulder overlap at your desired height.  Lay a sleeve with its top fold aligned with the shoulder fold, under the bodice by at least half an inch.  Trace the edge of the bodice armhole onto the sleeve, including a quarter inch down the side (this little line is critical – it will tell you where to align the bodice when you’re attaching them).  Cut the sleeve leaving a quarter inch seam allowance along the curve of the armhole and then going straight from there.  Copy the curve and the little line to the other side of the sleeve.  Use the first sleeve as a template to make the second.  Make sure you copy your markings as well!

Attach the facing to the bodice.  The more deeply cut piece will be attached to the front.  Turn them right sides together.  Match the top of the shoulders and smooth the facing piece down and towards the center.  Pin in place, and stitch with an 1/8″ seam allowance along the top of the facing.  Trim the excess of the bodice off from above the facing.  Turn the seam right sides out and topstitch the facing down using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Repeat on the back, except without any trimming (the facing should line up with the top of the back exactly).

Sleeves.  Yeah, attaching sleeves to overlap/envelope shoulders is a pain.  But you can do it.  First we do the back bodice piece.  Right sides together, line up the corner of the armhole  with the end of your mark on one side of the sleeve.  Pin it along the edge until you reach the top edge of the bodice piece.  Now, line up the corner of the armhole of the front bodice piece with the other end of the mark on the sleeve and pin it together.  The overlap will appear as you pin, creating a sleeve – back bodice – front bodice sandwich.  Stitch between the marks.

Close the bodice, front to back.  Fold the bodice right sides together and pin along the sides and the underpart of the sleeves.  Stitch the sides and sleeves in one long seam on each side.  Clip the inner corners of the underarms.

Putting it all together.  Measure across the bottom of the bodice.  Double this measurement and cut this length of 1/4″  elastic.  Pin the ends of the elastic to one side seam of the skirt, and then pin the elastic equally around the top of the skirt in several places.  Attach the elastic to the skirt using a long zigzag stitch, and pulling the elastic taut as you run it and the skirt through your machine.  (Don’t stretch the skirt – just pull the elastic so its length matches the fabric of the skirt.)   Insert the bodice (right side out) into the skirt (inside out) – they will be turned right sides together with the waist of the bodice meeting the elastic edged waist of the skirt.  Pin them together at the waist and stitch around, again using a long zigzag, and making sure they are even as they go through the machine.

Turn it all right side out.  Done!  Admire your work!

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2 responses to “Graphic t-shirt dress

  1. Emily November 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    You are so clever!

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